Royston sister of murdered Lee Pomeroy says vicious killer should die in prison
PUBLISHED: 18:10 16 July 2019 | UPDATED: 08:39 17 July 2019
The Royston sister of a man who was stabbed to death on a train in front of his 14-year-old son has told the Crow his “vicious” killer should die in prison after being given a life sentence.
Karen Blackaby's brother Lee Pomeroy died from knife wounds on a train near Horsley in Surrey on January 4 this year - the 51-year-old was heading to London with his son for an early birthday trip.
Darren Pencille, of no fixed abode, stabbed Mr Pomeroy in the neck and upper torso within minutes of boarding the train at London Road station in Guildford at around 1pm.
The 36-year-old - who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia but wasn't taking his medication at the time of the attack - was found guilty of murder and possession of an offensive weapon and jailed for life at the Old Bailey on Friday last week, with a minimum of 28 years behind bars.
Mrs Blackaby told the Crow: "I was nervous before the trial, thinking what is going to happen because we knew Pencille hadn't been well mentally and we didn't know what he was going to say.
"You don't know how bad this man was - it was horrific to hear the lies that came out, he said it was self defence.
"My brother didn't touch him - the altercation was about blocking the aisle. Pencille was the aggressor throughout, as the judge said."
Mrs Blackaby, who attended the trial with her sister Kim, 51, said the court was shown CCTV footage of the build up and the moment her IT consultant brother was stabbed.
The victim - who was due to celebrate his 52nd birthday the following day - desperately tried to defend himself. He was stabbed 18 times, within a 27-second frenzied attack.
Pencille then grabbed his belongings, and exited the train as it entered Clandon station in Surrey.
Mrs Blackaby said: "My sister had to walk out of the court because she couldn't bear to see the CCTV footage.
"I had to see it because we are trying to make sense of it all - we can't make sense of how someone can murder someone and then get up and walk away.
"It's beyond belief that you could lose your life just getting on a train and having an argument about an aisle.
"We know he was scraping the barrel with what he was saying in court. Lee didn't have a knife and he wasn't the agressor. He didn't know Pencille was a schizophrenic who wasn't taking his medication - he was standing up for himself and he lost his life."
Mrs Blackaby said that in court she heard that Pencille was smoking cannabis every day, and had previous convictions for a string of offences - including a previous stabbing.
She said: "In court, he was upset because we were looking at him - I was thinking 'you murdered my brother, I can look at you'.
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"He is vicious and aggressive, he has a fascination with knives. I want him to die in prison.
"The British Transport Police, Surrey Police, the prosceution, and the judge were marvellous.
"When the verdict was read out I had to check I couldn't give a fist pump, but was told to keep it neutral. Inside, the black cloud had been lifted. We were feeling so relieved, but we know it won't bring Lee back."
Chelsea Mitchell, 28, was found guilty of assisting an offender and was jailed for 28 months. After Pencille fled the murder scene, she picked him up and took him back to her flat before going to Tesco and buying hair clippers with the intention of helping Pencille shave his head to change his appearance.
About Mitchell, Mrs Blackaby said: "They said she had a low IQ, but you can have a low IQ and still have morals - you know right from wrong."
The 55-year-old said the family are pleased justice has been done. They planted a tree for Lee near his Guildford home.
"My mum, who had a stroke last year, has now said she can die in peace," said Mrs Blackaby.
"We have now got to get over the violent way in which Lee died in front of his son. Some of his last words were that he said he had been punched, because that's what they say being stabbed feels like.
"Lee was hard-working, and very protective of his family. His son no longer has his father and he's just 14 years old.
"I think we should bring back hanging, there are enough forensics these days to make sure we get it right and I think hanging should be brought back for these murderers. My concern is that when he gets out he is going to do this again, he is that type of person and he should never be let out."
READ MORE: Royston sister of stabbing victim pushes for tougher knife crime sentences
After the trial concluded, Det Ch Insp Sam Blackburn of the BTP said: "This was a case where a brief argument resulted in a moment of shocking violence that ended with the death an adored father, husband, brother and son.
"No argument, however heated, should result in the violence seen that day and no family members should ever bear witnesses to the violent death of a loved one.
"It was solely the actions of a murderer who, when challenged, could only respond with vicious threats and a knife, which led to Mr Pomeroy's death.
"The loss of Lee has left an unfillable hole in the lives of his family; he was their rock, their main breadwinner, a soulmate to his wife, and a defender, guide and mentor to his teenage son.
"I hope witnessing the conviction of both Darren Pencille and Chelsea Mitchell provides some small comfort and helps them piece their lives back together after this sudden loss. I'd like to thank them for their invaluable support throughout this investigation.
"I'd also like to thank the work of dedicated and specialist officers and staff from the British Transport Police who tracked down Pencille less than 18 hours after the murder, and the months they dedicated to securing damning evidence of Mitchell's attempts to help Darren Pencille avoid justice. It was their efforts supported by the brave accounts of eyewitnesses that ensured the true facts were established in court."
And Ch Supt Ali Barlow, from Surrey Police, said: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Lee Pomeroy following his tragic death on January 4. We recognise the profound impact his death has had on those who knew him, and we offer our sincerest condolences.
"I hope that the fact that Pencille has been found guilty of Mr Pomeroy's murder today will provide his friends and family with some closure for what happened and allow them to start coming to terms with their loss."